Arrest of Huawei CFO fuelling concern for Canadian business people in China
Canada’s arrest of Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer in Vancouver is fuelling concern that Canadian business people in China are at risk of being arrested in retaliation.
That view is being advanced by international security analysts and former diplomats, following the arrest on Saturday of Meng Wanzhou.
Canada’s Justice Department says the United States is seeking Meng’s extradition, but is not providing further details about the case because of a courtordered publication ban on her pending bail hearing.
Chinese officials are loudly calling for Meng’s release and want Canada to reveal the reason for her arrest.
“The Chinese are likely to play tit for tat on this one and we should be ready for it,” said Fen Hampson, the director of the global security program at the Centre for Governance Innovation in southern Ontario.
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, says that while he doesn’t want to overstate the possibility of a Canadian being jailed, China will be looking for ways to strike back.
“China will be furious and look for means of punishing us, in part as an example for others. That could include tit for tat moves against Canadians,” he said.
Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Thursday that the Chinese government also wants Canadian officials to reveal the reasoning.
He also said Meng’s legal rights must be ensured, adding that neither Canadian nor American officials had so far responded to China’s concerns.
The comments come after China’s embassy in Ottawa issued a statement Wednesday calling Meng’s arrest a serious violation of human rights.
“(Canada) arrested a Chinese citizen (who did not violate) any Canadian or American law,” the statement said.
“We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”
Canadian Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said the U.S. is seeking Meng’s extradition, but couldn’t provide further details about the case because of the publication ban in effect at Meng’s request.
Meng was changing flights in Canada when she was detained “on behalf of the United States of America” to face “unspecified charges” in New York, Huawei said in a statement.
“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” the statement said.
“The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.”
A profile of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is displayed on a Huawei computer at a Huawei store in Beijing, China, Thursday. Canadian authorities said Wednesday that they have arrested Meng for possible extradition to the United States.